You may need to wear sunglasses when you see these bowls. Playa Bowls opened in the former Pinkberry space at 5601 Magazine Street in order to serve heaping smoothie bowls, freshly-pressed juices, and more. It started in Belmar, New Jersey where surfing is a way of life. Playa Bowls took off with those who love healthy eating or just want a picture-perfect snack. As the brand took off, local entrepreneur Jordan VanGeffen brought Playa Bowls to Baton Rouge and eventually Lafayette and Metairie. Finally, Jordan knew it was time to branch out to New Orleans when he heard that Pinkberry was shutting down here.
Walking into the beachy restaurant is like a breath of fresh air with a hint of fruity sweetness. The huge menu can look intimidating, but you can find exactly what you want starting by the base: choose from thickly-blended acai, coconut, green (kale, banana, pineapple, playa pitaya, banana, chia pudding, and oatmeal. Then you can narrow down your options by the toppings. I tried out the popular Electric Mermaid which is a stunningly-pink playa pitaya bowl topped with a large helping of granola, pineapple, mango, kiwi, and coconut flakes. I also wanted to try the Nutella Bowl since it was National Nutella Day when I visited. This bowl had a rich burgundy acai base and came topped with granola, banana, strawberry, coconut flakes, and a thick Nutella drizzle. The chocolatey flavor of the Nutella mixed with the fresh strawberry slices just tasted so decadent, but I know that I had a huge amount of healthy fruit in every bite, so there was no guilt to be had.
I also tried two drinks which are great for getting your vitamins on the go. The Green Smoothie is a wonderful blend of kale, pineapple, banana, and coconut milk: that's it. It wasn't overly done, and it wasn't sugary sweet. I liked the consistency that wasn't as thick as other smoothies that add powered supplements can be. It felt good drinking it. The Dolce is a bit thicker due to the chocolate protein in it, but the other ingredients made it well balanced in flavor: banana, coconut milk, and peanut butter. This is definitely a drink for someone who is in need of a protein boost that will satiate their stomach for a few hours.
Those with allergies will be please to know that Playa Bowls takes allergy considerations very seriously. Nut-free ingredients are kept in a separate cooler, and everything is prepared using metal surfaces rather than plastic to prevent even traces of nuts from cross-contamination.
This little joint on a corner of Magazine Street might look more like a surfboard store when you first enter, but they are ready to serve up some of the best fruit bowls, smoothies, and juices you've ever had.